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Hybrids- The Good, the Bad & the Green…

hybrid [pronounced hahy-brid]

Definition– noun A thing made by combining two different elements.

Hybrid cars and trucks use an electric motor to power the car when the gasoline engine isn’t necessary. That allows the internal combustion engine to shut off, saving gas. Because of those savings, hybrid cars have become increasingly popular. And hybrids aren’t just for the environmental advocate anymore, either — luxury car makers have gotten into the game.

While Tesla is the most recognizable electric vehicle, it is not a hybrid, but a full electric powered vehicle.

Commonly called hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), as the definition above suggests, a hybrid car is simply one that relies on two different power sources for motion. The two different power sources are typically petrol and electricity (most common in the North America) and diesel and electricity (which can be found in Europe).

There are three main types of hybrid vehicles: full hybridsmild hybrids, and plug-in hybrids.

  • full hybrid(FHEV) can run on just the combustion engine (i.e., diesel/petrol), the electric engine (i.e., power from batteries), or a combination. The Toyota Prius is the most known example of this. A full hybrid is not plugged in to recharge; the battery is recharged by running the combustion engine.
  • mild hybridhas an electric motor and combustion engine which always work together. An example of this is the Honda Accord Hybrid. Mild hybrids cannot run in just electric or just combustion engine mode; the engines/motors always work in parallel.
  • plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV), as the name suggests, this type of hybrid vehicle requires plugging into a main power source to fully recharge its battery. PHEVs can be run in just electric mode.

Electric driving is growing in popularity as are the manufacturers and vehicle types.

Despite popularity in traditional petrol/despite crossovers SUVs, Sedans are still in demand among motorists looking to purchase a Hybrid.

Popular Hybrid Cars (Sedans) for 2022;

  • Honda Accord
  • Toyota Camry
  • Hyundai Sonata.
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E

Popular Hybrid SUVs for 2022;

  • RAV4 Toyota Hybrid
  • Audi Q4 E-Tron
  • BWM ix
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5
  • Mitsubishi Outlander

A hybrid vehicle recharges its high voltage battery using regenerative braking. With regenerative braking, instead of just wasting that energy by releasing it into the air, the vehicle takes it and places it in a box in the back of the car to save it as stored energy.

5 common myths about Hybrid vehicles

Are you thinking about trading in your old gas guzzler for an eco-friendlier ride? Hybrid vehicles are a great compromise between a traditional gas car and a fully electric car model. Hybrid options are becoming increasingly popular because they combine energy efficiency and autonomy. Viewed by some as the vehicle of the future, and by some as an android auto out of a sci-fi movie, hybrids deserve a closer look.

Myth 1: Cost- Are Hybrid vehicles are always more expensive?

With the growing demand for this type of vehicle, manufacturers are adapting, products are multiplying, and competition is growing—to your benefit, in terms of price. What’s more, the savings in gas and maintenance costs are quite significant from year to year when compared with similar-class gas powered vehicles.

Myth 2: Hybrid cars don’t really make that much of a difference for the environment

Because hybrid vehicles use less gas, they emit less C02 in the atmosphere than gas-powered vehicles in the same class thereby significantly reducing urban smog.

Myth 3: Hybrid vehicles don’t perform as well and are less reliable. 

The electric motors used for plug-in hybrid vehicles are different in that they have exceptional acceleration power. The technology for these vehicles is constantly improving and has been road tested under all types of conditions. Some manufacturers, like Toyota, are already on their third or fourth generation of hybrids.

Myth 4: Hybrid cars aren’t built to last.

The gas engine in a hybrid car doesn’t work all the time, which slows overall wear. The brakes are supported by an electromagnetic system that reduces premature wear. And when it comes to repairs, replacement parts are becoming more affordable, especially since hybrids have been gaining popularity.

Myth 5: The battery pack in hybrid vehicles need to be replaced often.

Just not true! Hybrid batteries are designed to last many years. Manufacturer warranties cover the battery life for a long period, up to 10 years for a Toyota hybrid.

Electric Range- Are Hybrids Good for Long Distance Driving

Each hybrid make and model is different. On average, a plug-in hybrid will utilize only electricity for the first 10-50 miles, then, it will begin to use gasoline. Depending on the size of the tank and driving style, you can probably go 300 more miles, at which point you would have to stop to fuel up, but you can make 310-350 miles on average in one electric charge and tank of gasoline. Hybrids can certainly handle long distance trips efficiently, however, there are some things to keep in mind;

  • A hybrid operates more efficiently when kept under 50 miles per hour, so, city driving is a more efficient way to travel. If you choose to travel on the highway, the EPA fuel economy will be lower than that if you traveled in the city. This is simply something to keep in mind while planning your travels.
  • At the same time, if you allow your vehicle to fully charge and the tank is full, it still may be worth your while to travel with your hybrid. If you can fit all your supplies and your passengers are comfortable, why not utilize your hybrid?

Things to Consider Before Buying a Hybrid

The items listed below are topics you should consider before purchasing a hybrid. It’s always best to do your own research to ensure a Hybrid vehicle is right for your needs.

  • Take into consideration the price of gasoline
  • Factor in how much you drive weekly (by the mile)
  • Do research on the battery needed for the vehicle you are interested in
  • Look into state and federal incentives
  • Keep the environment in mind
  • Consider buying a used hybrid rather than a new hybrid
  • Ask your vehicle insurance agent about discounts

Overall Advantages of Hybrid Vehicles

Over the past few year’s hybrid vehicles have become popular. Manufacturers are listening to consumers by producing greener vehicles. While some people are weary to trade in their gas vehicles for a hybrid, there are advantages to investing in a hybrid.

The top reason why people are switching to a hybrid vehicle is to help the environment. When utilizing the full-electric mode, zero emissions are being produced.

As well, hybrids traditionally provide a smoother ride experience and make less noise. Many hybrids come with improved technology and interior features to add to the hybrid experience. It is like having a luxury vehicle.

Finally, hybrids have been known to have a higher resale value than traditional gas engines.

Conclusions…

As we’ve learned, hybrid vehicles are often more costly than their gas engine counterpart upfront. While this can be a negative for some, the money that can be saved from not buying as much gasoline can be enough of a positive to make the initial cost not as important. Some hybrid models can also earn state and federal credits, which can lower the cost of buying.

When you buy or lease a hybrid, you are getting a vehicle with a lithium-ion battery. These batteries are a major component in a hybrid vehicle, and while these batteries do not have a definite lifespan, most batteries can keep roughly 80% of their capacity after traveling 100,000 miles. Some manufacturers are also offering lifelong coverage for their vehicles to reduce the expense and necessity to replace the lithium-ion batteries.

The basic principle of hybrid vehicles is that the different motors work better at different speeds; the electric motor is more efficient at producing torque, or turning power, and the combustion engine is better for maintaining high speed (better than a typical electric motor). Switching from one to the other at the proper time while speeding up yields a win-win in terms of energy efficiency while translating into greater fuel efficiency.

Though it depends which hybrid make, model, and package you choose, you are bound to get a variety of luxury features. Whether you are interested in wood trim, heated seats, navigation systems, or driver assistance technology, there is sure to be a hybrid that fits your needs and meets your budget!

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